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Reported Speech

1. What is reported speech?

Reported speech is when you have to tell person x what person y said.

2. Reported recent speech

If the thing was said recently, or you think it is still true, then don’t change the tense.

Original speechReported speech
“That movie is awful!”He said that movie is awful.
I’m going to kill you.”She said she is going to kill me.
“It’s his birthday today.”Phoenix said it‘s his birthday today.
“Wilson was a total moron at school.”Penelope said Wilson was a total moron at school.

3. Reported old speech

If the thing was said a long time ago, or you think is not true any more, change the tense ‘backwards’ (example: present tense becomes past tense).

Original speechReported speech
“The weather is beautiful.”She said the weather was beautiful.
“I’m enjoying reading this book.”He said he enjoyed reading this book.
“I am thinking of asking him to marry me tonight.”Last night she said she was thinking of asking him to marry her.
“I’m writing a book.”The last time I saw her, about five years ago, she said she was writing a book.

4. An exception: commands

Commands are different. They use the infinitive (to …).

Original speechReported speech
 “Go!”He told us to go.
“Stop running!”She shouted at us to stop running.
“Kiss me!”She told him to kiss her.

5. Exercises

Put these quotes into reported speech:
(i) “I don’t want to go.”
(ii) “That was the worst movie I have ever seen.”
(iii) “If anyone wants to go, I will pay for their ticket.

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